In the Fall 1986 Bible Review, several articles were devoted to the Book of Psalms, including one by BR managing editor Suzanne Singer entitled “The Power of Psalms in Our Time” that recounted the effect of the psalms on the Soviet Jew Anatoly Shcharansky (now, since his immigration to Israel, Natan Sharansky).
On November 29, 1987, Sharansky addressed a packed audience at Temple of Aaron, a synagogue in St. Paul, Minnesota. Moved by the article in BR and with the help of Rabbi Bernard Raskas, I arranged to visit with Sharansky before his address. The following are some excerpts from my talk with him.
JL: Mr. Sharansky, tomorrow morning I will begin teaching a course on the psalms to about 35 students at a Lutheran seminary here in St. Paul. On my syllabus which each of the students gets is a quotation from Martin Luther: “The Psalms might well be called a little Bible.” Then, right below it is a quotation from Natan Sharansky, words you uttered shortly before your final release from prison, when your Soviet guards tried to take away from you your Book of Psalms: